Gavin McGarrigle, the western regional director of Unifor, calls for the Coast Mountain Bus Company to up wages and improve break time for bus operators and maintenance workers. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

Bargaining to resume in Metro Vancouver transit strike as bus driver overtime ban looms

Both sides might be headed back to the table to prevent new overtime ban

Both sides in the Metro Vancouver transit dispute have said they will return to the bargaining table Wednesday in hopes of avoiding more job action.

The news came Tuesday after Unifor, which represents 5,000 transit workers, said bus drivers will begin refusing overtime on Friday if a deal is not reached.

Now in its 12th day, a uniform ban continues for bus drivers and an overtime ban for maintenance workers, resulting in several cancelled SeaBus trips every day. TransLink announced six Seabus cancellations for Tuesday.

Gavin McGarrigle, the western regional director of Unifor, said the bus driver overtime ban could disrupt 10 to 15 per cent of the system.

McGarrigle questioned why the Coast Mountain Bus Company had not “even moved a comma” in wage offers.

“Ticketed skilled trade workers with Red Seal qualifications are paid vastly different if they work on bus equipment instead of SkyTrain equipment,” he told a news conference at Unifor’s New Westminster headquarters.

He said the company has not explained why they compare TransLink and CMBC executive compensation to Toronto’s system, but won’t do the same for the workers.

Citing a photo circling on social media of a bus driver’s break room, McGarrigle said the microwave installed right near the toilet showed the poor working conditions and lack of break time that the union wants addressed.

TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews said the photo was of just a bathroom, and CMBC did not intend for it to be used as a place to prepare food.

“There are 53 ‘comfort stations’ around the [transit] system. Thirty-five of them are full on break rooms with kitchens. The rest of them are just bathrooms,” Drews said.

She confirmed that bus operators are able to access a full break room at least once during their route.

At an unrelated news conference in Richmond the same day, Premier John Horgan said he was “confident that the parties… understand that the travelling public would prefer to see free collective bargaining work. And that’s our position as well.”

READ MORE: Buses cancelled on busy routes in Metro Vancouver

READ MORE: TransLink disputes severity of bus delays caused by transit strike


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File Photo
District of Kent hopeful for transporation grant

Staff directed to apply for $10K grant for infrastructure projects

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

John Redekop, with wife Doris, was the 2019 recipient of the Betty Urquhart Community Service Award from UFV. (Photo courtesy of UFV)
Nominations open until Oct. 30 for UFV’s Betty Urquhart Awards

Award recognizes ‘significant impact’ of volunteer work by an individual or group

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Fraser South region has doubled in the last two weeks. The number of cases in the Fraser East region has tripled.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
COVID-19 surge in B.C. fuelled by spikes in new cases in Fraser Valley & Surrey area

Number of newly confirmed cases has tripled in Fraser Valley and doubled in the Surrey/Langley area

Jennifer Greggain has accepted a new role with Golf Canada, coaching the country’s top junior athletes. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack’s Jennifer Greggain gets new role with Golf Canada

Greggain is now one of two people guiding the country’s top junior golfers

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

The family of Anika Janz, who died after collapsing at school, has launched a GoFundMe to assist with funeral proceedings. (GoFundMe photo)
Family of student who died launches GoFundMe

Rick Hansen Secondary School student Anika Janz, 14, died after collapsing in PE class

Most Read